Although the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe was very uninteresting until a few years ago, it has always been a well-liked and respected midsize SUV. When Hyundai updated the Santa Fe’s interior and added a new grille in 2021, that all changed. Although it doesn’t have the same striking appearance as its more angular and smaller sibling, the Hyundai Tucson, it’s nevertheless a pleasant and roomy crossover to drive.
The Santa Fe, when equipped with the optional turbocharged engine, offers impressive acceleration and numerous features for its price. However, there are several competitors to take into account, like the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Spor, Subaru Outback, and Honda Passport.
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe, despite not receiving as much attention as the Korean brand’s larger SUV lineup, is a notable model with appealing features. The Santa Fe, a mid-size vehicle between the Tucson and Palisade, offers two seating rows and various powertrain options. The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline-four with 191 horsepower, while a 277-horsepower turbo four is available as an option.
Front- or all-wheel drive is an option for both engines. Hyundai also sells a 226-hp hybrid Santa Fe that gets 36 mpg in the city according to the EPA. With just electricity, the plug-in hybrid vehicle can go an estimated 31 miles and has 260 horsepower and a combined 76 MPGe rating. The spacious 2023 Santa Fe is in the center of the pack among mid-size SUVs thanks to its reasonable base price and smooth ride. This is mostly because of its exceptionally good base engine.
Hyundai’s luxury division is called Genesis, and the Santa Fe isn’t comparable to a GV80 SUV. Nevertheless, compared to rival SUVs from the Korean carmaker, the 2023 Santa Fe is more expensive. Premium models contain more expensive components, details, and technological features. No matter what configuration it comes with, the Santa Fe’s interior boasts a roomy and stylish layout. Despite the center console’s abundance of buttons, it’s simple to become used to their placement.
The Santa Fe is easy to drive and elegantly designed. Although the turbocharged engine’s power is impressive, the dual-clutch automatic transmission it comes with occasionally feels a little jerky. Instead, we would most likely go with the hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or basic engine.
The Santa Fe succeeds as an easygoing and flexible everyday SUV despite its unattractive exterior design. Hyundai’s driver aid systems function effectively, and its warranty is generous. Given the quantity of standard equipment, the Santa Fe has good bang-for-buck appeal.
What is 2023 Bringing?
Other than rearranging the standard equipment, not much will change for Santa Fe in 2023. Hyundai has altered the front fascia and removed the SEL Convenience package, which is dependent on the specific trim level. Acoustic-laminated front windows for improved sound insulation and puddle lamps to illuminate the area near the doors are new features for the SE model and above. The SEL now comes standard with a 10.3-inch center touchscreen, rear sunshades, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The latter, combined with a navigation system that supports over-the-air upgrades, is now standard on all hybrid models. Lastly, Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist semi-autonomous drive mode and the larger touchscreen are now standard on the plug-in hybrid.
Performance and Engine
A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and an eight-speed automated transmission powers the base 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe. Throughout the Santa Fe lineup, all-wheel drive is an option, while front-wheel drive is the standard setup. The Limited and Calligraphy versions come with an optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which is a substantial boost above the base engine’s more than adequate performance. It has a 277 horsepower rating and is mated to an aggressive eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Although it shifts more quickly than the typical setup, there are times when it feels abrupt.
The Santa Fe Hybrid’s 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, when combined with an electric drive motor and a six-speed automated transmission, generates 225 horsepower. With the addition of a 12.4-kWh rechargeable battery pack, the Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid increases power to 260 horsepower. Moreover, it offers a range of up to 31 miles on electricity alone. The fastest of the group is the 2.5-liter turbocharged Santa Fe, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 6 seconds. Regardless of the configuration you select, the Santa Fe offers a smooth, pleasant ride with low engine noise.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: Fuel Efficiency
The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe’s class-average fuel efficiency is offered in the base configuration. The EPA estimates that Santa Fe’s front-wheel-drive vehicle achieves 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the interstate. It gets 22 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with all-wheel drive. That is marginally superior to the Ford Edge and Jeep Cherokee. The more potent turbocharged engine is predicted to achieve 21/28 mpg on the interstate and in the city.
According to EPA estimates, the Santa Fe Hybrid gets 36 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the interstate. The smaller Toyota RAV4 Hybrid was not defeated by such figures, but the larger Ford Explorer Hybrid was. The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid has an EPA rating of 33 mpg when fully drained or 76 mpg when fully charged with a 12.4-kWh battery pack. It also provides a range of up to 31 miles on electricity alone. The Toyota RAV4 Prime, a smaller vehicle, has an EPA rating of 94 MPGe and can travel up to 42 miles on battery power.
The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid is expected to take 6.5 hours to fully charge using a Level 1 (120 volt) charger or 3.5 hours using a Level 2 (240 volt) charger.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: Interior
The Ford Edge and Chevrolet Blazer are comparable in size to the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe, but the Edge has a higher internal capacity. A family of four may comfortably fit inside Santa Fe thanks to its ample back headroom and legroom for growing kids and its ample cargo capacity for strollers and other family necessities. The Santa Fe seems roomy because it doesn’t try to cram in a third row of seats. Even after many hours of driving, the chairs remain comfy. The Santa Fe, available in Limited and Calligraphy trim levels, exudes a luxury brand feel with its premium materials and thoughtful design elements.
The Santa Fe offers larger cargo space than many of its rivals, with a 36.4 cubic foot freight capacity. Comparing it to the Blazer, its volume is almost 6 cubic feet more. However, the freight capacity of the Edge is over 3 cubic feet greater than that of the Santa Fe. Comparable to the Edge, the Santa Fe’s usable volume rises to 72.1 cubic feet when the rear seatbacks are folded down.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: Infotainment and Connectivity
The infotainment systems of the Hyundai Santa Fe 2023 aren’t very innovative or eye-catching, but they are easy to use. The entry-level SE’s 8-inch touchscreen interface features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but lacks HD Radio and Sirius XM. The Santa Fe SEL is equipped with Hyundai Blue Link connectivity, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with voice activation and onboard navigation.
Although not wirelessly, the SEL also has Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Nevertheless, standard wireless device charging is available for the SEL and above trims. Additionally, they have a standard 630-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system, which produces extraordinarily crisp music across the whole cabin. While many of Santa Fe’s competitors provide onboard Wi-Fi, this model does not.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe received a top five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while the 2023 Santa Fe has not yet received an official rating. The 2022 model was awarded a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for its Good rating in every crash test.
All Santa Fe models are equipped with standard safety features like automatic high lights, lane-keeping assistance, a rearview camera, and forward-collision warning with automated emergency braking. Rear-passenger reminders and the Highway Driving Assist system are added to the SEL model. A surround-view video system and a blind-spot camera are added to the Premium package. Included with the Limited trim are parking sensors.
Large and well-equipped, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a family SUV that includes seven seats as standard, which is important to some. In addition, it has a quite striking appearance for a useful, tall family vehicle. It’s definitely not going to be mistaken for a hum-drum Kia Sorento or VW Tiguan Allspace in the school parking lot.
Better yet, the Hyundai Santa Fe looks just as nice in Premium trim as it does in range-topping Ultimate trim thanks to the fact that all of its eye-catching embellishments, including the chrome grille frame and shining roof rails, are standard.